Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 9. Bend Over

Stormie

“So, how did you even find out?” Avery asked.

“Susie,” I said.

“Hmm, I wonder how she found out,” he said. He twirled the blunt between his finger and thumb.

The sound of crickets chirped throughout the grass. Lightning bugs flew over the weeds and the lake. The moon shimmered down on the lake. Avery and I were sitting on the hood of the car with our backs against the windshield. We left the radio playing in the car.

“I’m not sure,” I said. I turned my head to look at him. “She said the only reason I got in was because you put a good word in for me to Wilx.”

“The only reason you didn’t get in last year was because it was that old bitch Cathy and she picked favorites over talent. Our cheerleading team was shit. Maybe, it’ll be better this year,” he said.

“How do you know it was shit? You were too busy playing ball,” I said.

“It’s hard not to pay attention to them when they stand right in front of the bench that I sit on when Defense is on the field,” he said and chuckled.

“Oh yeah, I didn’t think about that,” I said and giggled. “You just like to see their butts when they bend over,” I said.

He threw his head back and laughed. “I don’t date cheerleaders.”

Disappointment flooded my stomach, but I forced myself to smile and roll my eyes. “That doesn’t mean you don’t look,” I said.

“I try to stay focused on the game,” he said. “That might be a little harder.”

“Why?”

“What?” he asked.

“What were we talking about?” I giggled. “This stuff is awesome.” I took it from him and hit it.

“It’s not nearly as good as the next shit is going to be. I have to make that trip on Sunday,” he said and shook his head.

“Are you bringing back a lot?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “At least thirty.”

“Thirty, what?”

“Pounds.”

“Holy shit! Seriously? Why do you need so much?” I guffawed.

He rolled his eyes. “It’s a lot of people to supply.”

“I wonder who will supply them when you’re in Waco at Baylor?” I asked. Baylor was the college that Avery was going to. He got a full-ride as their first-string quarterback next year.

He pursed his lips and shrugged. “I’ll figure it out,” he said.

“I might give up my position,” I said.

“What?”

“On the squad,” I said. “I just don’t think I can deal with Susie.”

“Don’t fucking let them run you off the squad, Stormie. If you want something, you have to chase it, and you know that,” Avery said. He grabbed my chin and forced me to look at him. “Don’t let her get her way.”

“I have to see how it goes,” I murmured. “Why does our skin look so weird in the moonlight?” I asked, staring down at his hand that had ahold of my face.

He laughed. “Damn, okay, you’re blitzed out of your mind. We better go home,” he said.

***

“Ugh!” I grunted. I threw my hands out so my hands would catch the fall instead of my face. My nose stopped an inch from the ground. Both coaches blew their whistles and said practice was over.

Hands grabbed me and picked me up off the ground. It was Mason and Avery.

“You good?” Mason asked.

“Yeah, fine,” I said.

“You sure?” Mason asked.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” I said.

“Okay,” Mason said. “I’m going to Claire’s, so lock the door when you go to bed. I don’t know what time I’ll be home.”

“Sounds good,” I said. I tried taking a step forward. I limped and groaned in pain. I started to lose my balance, but Avery was still beside me.

He grabbed me around the waist. Avery watched me warily for a moment. “Storm, maybe–”

“Oh, my bad. Sorry, Stormie,” Susie said.

I looked back at her and gritted my teeth. I turned and looked at Avery.

Avery glowered at Susie. Avery’s eyes flickered back down to mine. “You need to fucking say something to Mrs. Wilx. I swear if you don’t, I will,” he said.

“No, it’s fine,” I said.

“You can’t even walk,” he hissed.

“N-no, really–”

Avery didn’t let me finish. He picked me up bridal style and carried me toward the locker room.

“Avery,” I tried sounding stern, but I didn’t scare him. “Put me down. My ankle is just a little sore,” I said.

“A little?” His voice was full of disbelief. “You couldn’t even put half your weight on it.”

“I know how to hop,” I huffed.

“You’re a big baby,” he muttered.

“I am not a baby!” I hissed.

The other students stared at us as Avery carried me.

“Are you kidding? Taking care of you is a full-time job,” he teased.

“Kiss my ass,” I muttered.

“Bend over,” he said.

“Shut up,” I giggled. “You know that you can’t carry me in there, right?”

“Obviously,” he said. Avery sat me down at the door. “Mrs. Wilx!” He bellowed through the door.

Mrs. Wilx came rushing out of the locker room. “Avery? Yes, dear?” she asked.

“Could you help Stormie? She can’t walk. I think she sprained her ankle. Actually, I’m going to take her to the doctor,” he said.

“What? No,” I started to argue.

“Yes,” he said sharply.

I scoffed. “If you say so, dad.” I rolled my eyes.

“Also, you should know that Susie pushed Stormie. I saw it happen,” he said.

My lips parted in shock, and I stared at him horror-struck. “Avery,” I gasped.

“Yes, I caught that. I was going to talk to you about that, Stormie. What is going on between you two?” she asked.

“Susie bullies me. We were friends a long time ago, but when she got popular, she started picking on me,” I admitted. “It’s fine. I expected it. I can handle it.”

“I’ll deal with it, thank you, Avery,” Mrs. Wilx said dismissively.

He bowed his head respectfully and ran to the door several feet away to the boys’ locker room.

“Let me help you, sweetie,” Mrs. Wilx said worriedly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you couldn’t walk.”

“No, it’s okay. Thanks for your help,” I said.

When we reached the locker room, Mrs. Wilx helped me to my locker and sat me down on a bench in front of it. We heard laughter echo through the room. We both looked up and saw Susie and her friends.

“Something funny, girls?” Mrs. Wilx snapped.

Damn.

“N-no, Mrs. Wilx,” they all said and turned for the door.

“I’ll be talking with the principal about what happened,” she said. “Cheerleading is dangerous as it is, let alone to have people pushing you from that high up. I’m absolutely disgusted with those girls. That fall could have broken your neck.”

“Thanks for your help,” I said. “I can get dressed and make it out to the gym,” I told her.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

After getting dressed, I used the wall like crutches to hop to the gym.

“It would be interesting as fuck to see you try to do that all the way to the parking lot,” Avery said and smirked.

“Don’t pick me up!” I squealed the last word as he scooped me up and started striding quickly toward the exit. “This is ridiculous. Can’t you just like help me walk to the car?”

“Hell no, that would take too long,” he said and rolled his eyes.

“You’re not really going to make me go to the hospital, are you?” I asked.

“Yeah, I am,” he said.

“It’s my left foot, not my right. I can still drive,” I insisted. “Let me drive myself.”

“Did you really think that would work?” Avery gave me a dubious look.

“It was worth a shot,” I said and shrugged.

He chuckled and shook his head.

Several girls said hi to Avery, giving him a flirtatious look.

“Wow, they have no shame, do they?” I chuckled. “Is there one girl in this entire school who doesn’t flirt with you every time they see you?”

He shrugged. “There is definitely at least one,” he murmured. His eyes locked with mine.

My gaze dropped from his. Was he talking about me? Did he like being flirted with? The wind rustled the leaves on the trees, and my hair blew around me.

Avery stopped at the passenger side of his truck. He opened the door with the hand that was under my knees. He put me in the seat and closed the door.

I took the blunt from his ashtray and lit it.

Avery climbed into the truck and started it. “Hey, you’re smoking my weed.”

“I need it more than you,” I said and chuckled.

“Yeah...” he trailed off. “I’m not arguing that today.”

***

“Dude, this movie blows,” Avery muttered. He looked over at me.

I glowered at him.

“My mind,” Avery added.

“Nice save,” I chuckled.

“I tried,” he said.

“I’m starving,” I said.

“Pizza?” he asked.

“You buying?” I asked excitedly.

“Sure,” he said.

“Pepperoni,” I said.

“Okay, but after we eat, I got to go home and do chores,” he grabbed my feet, which were on his lap, and stood up. He put them back on the couch.

“You have to move to order food?” I raised my eyebrows.

“I got to piss,” he said and chuckled.

The doorbell rang.

“And apparently get the door,” he said. He spun around and ran halfway across the living room floor, then slid across the hardwood thanks to his socks.

I threw my head back and laughed. “Now, who smoked too much?” I teased.

He chuckled and threw the door open. Avery’s expression dropped instantly. Avery turned back to me.

“Who is it?” I murmured.

“It’s Chris,” he said.

I grabbed my crutches and stood up. I headed for the door as Avery stalked off to the bathroom. Avery’s entire demeanor changed every time Chris was around.

“Chris,” I said.

“Hey, how are you feeling? I heard you got hurt today,” he said.

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Can we talk?” he asked.

“Sure, but can you need to make it quick,” I said rudely.

“Well, I was wondering if you made up your mind. I thought we could go to a movie in a few days or something,” he said.

“No, Chris. It’s over,” I said. “I just...” I trailed off. “I can’t get past the way you spoke to me.”

“Oh, okay.” Chris bowed his head. “I really am sorry about that.”

“You know what I think? I think you’re sorry you lost your girlfriend over it,” I said. I closed the door in his face and turned back for the couch. The sprain wasn’t as severe as my brother’s, and I would be back to normal in a week or two.

“What did he want?” Avery asked.

“To know if he still had a girlfriend,” I said and plopped down on the couch.

Avery lifted my feet and sat down beside me. “Oh, and does he?”

“No,” I said. “I can only imagine what you might do to him if I gave him another chance.”

“You’re probably right. It’s for the best,” he said and chuckled.

“Did you order food?” I asked. “I’m starving.”

“Yes, calm down. I’ll feed you... Crazy,” he chuckled.

I smiled widely at him. He knew I was extra cranky when I was hungry.

***

The school parking lot was filled after a football game. One of the football players from the other school whistled at me as I walked by. I was still in my cheerleading outfit. Avery was by the truck waiting.

I felt something poke my ass cheek. I spun around and swatted the stick away from my ass. He was using it to lift my skirt. “Asshole,” I spat. “Leave me alone.”

The guy stood up and towered over me. “What the fuck did you just call me?”

“She called you a fucking asshole. Are you deaf?” Avery spat. His chest pressed against my back.

“Avery don’t,” I said. I whirled around to push him back. “It’s not worth it. Let’s just go.”

Avery’s eyes flickered down to mine.

My eyes pleaded with his. “Let’s go.”

Avery was about to give into me. I could feel some of his tension let up. However, the other guy had to go and open his big fat mouth.

“Yeah, take your little bitch and get out of here, Avery,” he said and laughed.

The guy’s friends started to laugh with him.

Avery grabbed my hips and spun me out of his way. His fist balled up, and he punched the guy in the mouth.

Blood and spit went flying through the air. The guys stumbled back, lost his footing, and fell on his ass.

Avery grabbed the collar of the guy’s jersey and punched him in the nose.

The guy groaned in pain.

The other guys from the school started to come behind Avery.

“Stop it!” I shouted. I pushed my way through the other boys and grabbed Avery.

One of the other guys grabbed Avery at the same time, but Avery threw him off.

“Stop, Avery!” I demanded.

Avery bounced the guy’s head off the concrete. Avery grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the truck. Avery drug me to the driver’s side. He threw the door open and practically threw me into the truck. He climbed in after me and backed quickly out of his parking spot.

“I can’t believe you!” I hissed. “You damn near killed him!”

“I did not,” Avery snorted. “That prick deserved it. Why the fuck are you yelling at me? That asshole was lucky it was me and not Mason. Mason wouldn’t have stopped hitting the prick.”

I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest.

We were silent for the rest of the ride. Everyone was supposed to go to an after-party, but Avery agreed to drive me home because I didn’t want to go. Avery stopped the truck in front of the house.

“Stormie,” he started.

I didn’t let him finish. I jumped out of the truck and sprinted across the yard. I slammed the front door shut and dropped my bag on the floor.

Avery opened the door and slammed it behind him. “What the hell is your problem?”

“For Mason to do it; it’s whatever. He is my brother! I get that you look at me like a little sister, but you don’t need to beat guys up for calling me names!” I shouted.

Avery laughed, but there wasn’t a trace of humor in his voice. “Sister?” he raised his eyebrows. Avery closed the distance between us. He grabbed my face between his hands, pulling me into him.

A gasp escaped me. “What–” I couldn’t finish. Avery’s warm lips silenced mine, and I wasn’t sure what happened to me at that moment, but whatever it was, it changed me. I melted into him like butter on a hot frying pan.

My fingers tangled into his brown hair, and I kissed him back. Telling me not to kiss him back would have been like telling the earth to stop spinning. There was no possible chance I had been kissed prior to this, not really.

Avery broke the kiss, and his forehead rested against mine. “Brothers don’t kiss sisters like that, do they?” he murmured. He turned and walked out the door without another word, leaving me speechless.

The kiss left me wanting more. I wanted to chase after Avery and tell him to kiss me just once more. However, all I could do was hold my shaky fingers to my lips and wait for them to stop tingling.

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